4250.1 Multicultural Competence in the WSU Curriculum: A Proposal
Wright State University’s vision is to be “known and admired for our diversity and for the transformative impact we have on the lives of our students and on the communities we serve.” This is exemplified in Element 3 of the Wright State Core. As the world becomes “increasingly interconnected,” we recognize that “the future lies at the Intersection,” the place where “cultures, disciplines, concepts, and domains” intersect, where creative and innovative ideas that change the world are generated and realized (Johansson, 2006, pp. 186-189). Our students must be prepared to participate in and contribute to this interdependent global community. College Learning for the New Global Century (AAU&C, 2007), a report focusing on “what contemporary college graduates need to know and be able to do,” includes “intercultural knowledge and competence” as one of the recommended “essential learning outcomes” needed to prepare students “for twenty-first-century challenges” (pp. 1-3). Preparing students to be multiculturally competent is consistent with the university’s desire to renew the curriculum based on national best practices in an effort to prepare students well for the 21st century global world.
Multicultural competence is the ability in personal and professional contexts to interact respectfully and effectively with diverse individuals and groups in a manner that
recognizes, affirms, and values the worth, and protects the rights and dignity, of all. To foster multicultural competence, the goals of the curriculum should include (a) increasing students’ understanding of issues of race, gender, age, language, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, ability or disability, sexual orientation, nationality, national origin, and other factors of diversity and hierarchy; and (b) developing their ability to recognize, analyze, and work to transform social relations favoring some groups and subjugating other groups, while understanding their own position in these relationships. “Developing such skills requires exposure to, knowledge of, and appreciation for cultural, economic, social, and racial diversities within the United States and throughout the world” (Wright State Core Proposal, p. 2). The expected outcome is that students will graduate with the ability to interact with others productively in their communities, jobs, nation, and the world.
To foster multicultural competence, the curriculum needs to provide opportunities for students to be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, economic, social, political or racial diversities in the United States or throughout the world.
- Apply the methods of inquiry of the natural sciences, social sciences or the arts and humanities to understand cultural, economic, social or racial diversity.
- Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary social or ethical issues related to diversity.
- Demonstrate skills required to engage in an informed and respectful way with diverse people, cultures, and histories.
Courses that address these outcomes will be designated as multicultural competence (MC) courses.
The Multicultural Competence Committee (MCC), as a subcommittee of the Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee (UCAPC), will have oversight responsibility for reviewing and approving the MC designation for Wright State Core and major courses; assessing the development of multicultural competence in Wright State students; and increasing opportunities to foster multicultural competence in the curriculum. The MCC will follow the reporting process recommended by UCAPC.
The Wright State Core Course Proposal Form and process will be used to apply for the MC designation for Wright State Core courses. Applications for MC designation for courses in the major will be submitted to the MCC for approval, and will be required to explain (a) how the instructional strategies/academic assignments (readings, writings, exams, presentations, reflection activities, projects, etc.) will be connected to each of the four required outcomes; and (b) how the accomplishment of each of the four required outcomes will be assessed.
The MCC will be composed of one faculty member representative from each undergraduate college with Faculty Senate constituency representation. UCAPC will appoint and the Faculty Senate will confirm faculty member appointments. The co-chairs of the UDAC Cultural Competence Subcommittee, a representative from the University College, a representative from UGEC, and an undergraduate student representative selected by Student Government will serve as non-voting members.